Damiler Benz 603L
2 x 2,100 hp ea.
4 x 20 mm
53 ft. 7 in.
60 ft. 8 in.
The Heinkel He-219, called Uhu (Owl), was originally designated project P.1060 when conceived in 1940 as a high speed, multi-role twin engine aircraft. It wasn’t until 1941 that the Luftwaffe took an interest in the aircraft. That is when RAF Bomber Commands night raids began to impact Germany’s weapons production. Ernst Heinkel was asked to change his design into a night fighter. The Heinkel He-219 night fighter first flew in November of 1942. It is said to be the only propeller driven Luftwaffe night fighter aircraft with the speed and maneuverability capable of intercepting the Mosquito.The Heinkel He-219 was evaluated in mock combat against other Luftwaffe aircraft and did so well that a production order was immediately placed. The aircraft, equipped with radar that could find enemy bombers without any light, and heavy armament with which to down them, was very impressive.
The Luftwaffe wanted to press even early prototype aircraft into service. In April of 1943 a trial unit was formed at Venio, Holland. On the night of June 11, Major Werner Streib, flying the Heinkel He-219, downed five enemy bombers in a single sortie. During its first six night missions, the aircraft downed 20 enemy bombers. This should have proven the military value of a dedicated night fighter aircraft to the government.
With the addition of more powerful engines the Heinkel He-219 became an excellent aircraft that many speculate would have had a large detrimental effect on the British night bombing effort. However, few of the aircraft saw service because of initial German government opposition to a dedicated twin engine night fighting aircraft. When the government did approve of development of the aircraft, production problems kept the output too low for them to become a significant contributor to the German night interceptor effort.
A number of different models of the Heinkel He-219 were produced to prove the worth of the aircraft to still skeptical government officials. From November 1944 forward, virtually the only aircraft being produced in Germany were jets. There were only enough He-219 aircraft produced to equip a single unit, 1/NJG 1, based at Venio. Some Heinkel He-219 aircraft were attached to other units, but they were never used strategically.
The Heinkel He-219 was the first Luftwaffe production aircraft to employ a tricycle landing gear. It was the first production aircraft in the world to have ejection seats. Its radar was said to be advanced, lighter in weight than other units, have a relatively long range, and be quite accurate for its time.
Approximately 300 Heinkel He-219 aircraft were produced. Their story is of an aircraft that never reached its full potential due to the German high command.
RC Heinkel He-219
The great looking RC Heinkel He-219 scratch built by Jim Marshall has a wingspan of 120 in., a length of 102 in., and an all up weight of 32 lbs. Jim used balsa and ply construction materials with foam core wings. Powering it are a pair of Zenoah G38 engines.
Vanguard Vancouver has plans and a short kit of the RC Heinkel He-219. It has a wingspan of 91 in. Power comes from are a pair of .75 engines. We are told that it can easily be converted to electric power. Construction materials used are plywood and balsa.